Art in a different way It’s been more than a decade since Paul Harris’ ground-breaking one-man show at the Ruschman Art Gallery, which catapulted the artist into a state of constant celebrity as he managed to bring the art of assemblage to new levels, pulling several local artists under his influence in his wake.

Now, Mark Ruschman has given the artist absolute freedom within the walls of his Alabama Street gallery as Harris partners with close friend and fellow artist Michael Begley in a two-man show, Different Promises, Different Dreams. Working separately and together over the past year, Harris says he and Begley will be collaborating on the whole space, painting the ceiling, walls and floors, presenting a rare opportunity for gallery-goers to experience artists’ work in an environment completely created, controlled and manipulated by the artists themselves.

The gallery will be closed for one week before the exhibit opening, allowing absolute privacy as Begley and Harris prepare this all-encompassing environment. “Very seldom does this happen in life, that you get to do whatever you want, however you want,” Harris says, pointing out that even the windows will be boarded over so that no one, not even owner Ruschman or manager Telene Eddington, will have access to the space until the exhibit opens at 5 p.m. Friday night.

“This is an opportunity that is as much about the environment as it is the individual works of art, a chance to experience the space in its totality; it’s about the aesthetics, the feel of the space, the sound, the touch,” Ruschman says, pointing out that in keeping with his gallery’s forward-thinking tradition, the Harris/Begley event will give people an opportunity to experience art in a different sort of way.

Begley echoes this statement, adding, “The strongest thing is that the artwork is going to be placed in an environment.”

With the clock ticking till opening night, Harris puts it this way: “Now all we need is people to enjoy it. Or hate it, or whatever they feel. I just want them to walk in there and feel something.”

Ruschman Gallery is located at 948 N. Alabama; 317-634-3114. The opening reception will run Nov. 4 from 5-9 p.m.

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